Someone once said to me that if I was a running dog that I would be a working dog like a husky. At the time, I took offense to it but now I think I would like to own it proudly. As a matter of fact, I know that I would. I would be happy to have the running power and stamina of a husky.
Besides look how magnificent they look while running. But that’s another issue.
What has become apparent to me is that for some strange reason, just like the husky, I’ve developed a desire to run and run far. I actually think that depending where I’m running that I would rather do a long slow run than a quick short one.
Yes, that boggles my mind too!
Now maybe this talk is just because I’m having such a good recovery after my trail marathon. I don’t know. I do know though that it is NOT that the trail was easier than a road marathon. It is just that they really are two very different beasts. Both road marathons that I have ran I reached a point where I questioned my sanity, I couldn’t believe how stupid I was to sign up for it, and I did hit the proverbial wall. None of these things happened out on the trail. NONE. I’m not sure why.
Yes, both races are technically the same distance. Although, I do believe that a trail marathon is actually longer but that will happen. I think there were a few major differences for me and maybe part of it was because I didn’t approach it like a race. I went into this with no time limits, no set paces, nothing. I went into my trail marathon like I was going for a normal run. I didn’t watch my pace at all. There in lies the difference. It’s not that I wasn’t pushing myself but especially (for me) on muddy trails there is only so fast I can go. When I ran my MCM I kept a fairly steady pace the entire race of about 10:30 while my average pace on the trails was about 13:30 with some miles hitting 16.
Now don’t think that just because I was running slower that I wasn’t working. Trails are a different beast than Satan’s Tar as Dawn now refers to roads. One of the reasons my pace is so much slower on the trails besides needing to run them more often is that I approach them with caution. They are muddy. They are filled with slipper rocks. There are places that you really need to pay attention to which doesn’t always happen on the roads. When running the roads especially in a closed course race, you really can just zone out. You can never zone out on the trails unless you want to eat the dirt or worse.
Now, the side effect of running slower does mean that you have more time on your feet. I ran MCM officially in 4:38:18. I ran this event officially 6:30:08. So the slower pace does add up. That being said as far as the actual running goes, I think that I enjoyed the trail running more. My mother asked me what motivated me to run for such a long time. I had no answer on the motivation other than I just liked to run. I’m not winning any races. This event there wasn’t any bling or even a t-shirt. It was just that satisfaction of knowing what I could accomplish and that was enough.
I have decided after this weekend’s event, that I really need to do more trail running. More trail races. Before this event, I was wondering what I was thinking signing up for the Dirty German. Now I’m looking to see how I can squeeze more off road races into my schedule.
Have your tried the trails yet?